The opening chapter of the 2016/17 Premier League has been suitably intriguing and with the action now paused for the international break it seems like a good time to take the table’s temperature and corresponding odds.
What better place to start the examinations than at the top?
1st Manchester City 10/11, 2nd Tottenham 15/2, 3rd Arsenal 6/1, 4th Liverpool 4/1, 5th Everton 150/1, 6th Manchester United, 16/1 7th Chelsea 14/1
It’s set to be one of the most competitive Premier League title races in several seasons, possibly ever, with only five points separating Man City in first from Chelsea in seventh.
Pep Guardiola’s new side were inspired from the starter’s pistol right through to late September, winning ten games in all competitions. Nonetheless, the theory that their metal had not been properly tested, even against neighbours United midway through that imperious run, was given major credence at White Hart Lane most recently.
Celtic had asked some searching questions when ending City’s 10-game unbeaten run with a 3-3 draw in Europe prior, but if the Citizens had found responses to the Scots’ questions, they had totally run out of solutions by the time a ruthless Spurs side had probed them at White Hart Lane.
Perhaps fatigue played its part, yet there was no questioning Mauricio Pochettino’s methods, his team’s collective purpose and skill in seeing off the title favourites 2-0.
Having signed off before the international break with that statement of intent, the Lilywhites’odds for glory have tumbled from 18/1 to 15/2.
All eyes will inevitably turn to City’s response once the top flight reconvenes, though a meagre tally of just three goals conceded for Tottenham suggests that there is cause for genuine optimism at the Lane.
Liverpool have also excited with their slick, gegenpress-inspired football in Jurgen Klopp’s first full season.
Nevertheless they’ve shown weakness. A wobble against Burnley and another concerning dip in performance levels at Swansea, albeit in a game they managed to win from behind, raises doubts over the Reds’ ability to maintain the application they’ve shown in big games.
While Liverpool won’t welcome their billing as City’s nearest challengers so early on, their first victims of the campaign, Arsenal, will be delighted to have slipped under the radar somewhat this season.
The Gunners are actually the form side in the division, winning five on the spin, and Arsene Wenger’s summer recruitment for once looks to have been well proportioned – with Theo Walcott’s return to his best an added bonus.
If City and Liverpool’s defensive fallibility continue to surface, then the eventual focus of this title race may switch from the north west, as the present odds suggest, to north London.
Arsenal entertain Tottenham on November 6th, and it already bears the hallmarks of a title-shaping showdown.
At this juncture, the new managers of Manchester United, Chelsea and Everton will have to work some serious magic to propel themselves right into the mix.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing